Restoring firearm rights in Washington state
The statute that controls restoring gun rights in Washington state is RCW 9.41.040(4)(a).
Restoring Washington state firearm rights after a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor conviction
If you lost your gun rights due to a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor conviction, you are eligible to restore your firearm rights if:
- Your conviction is not for a felony sex offense (but see notes below if you were a juvenile) (RCW 9.41.040(4)(a)); and
- Your conviction is not for a felony that is defined under any law as a class A felony or has a maximum sentence of at least twenty years (but see notes below if you were a juvenile) (RCW 9.41.040(4)(a)); and
- You do not have any pending charges in any state or federal court (RCW 9.41.040(4)(a)(ii)(A)); and
- You have gone at least five consecutive years in the community without being convicted of a new disqualifying crime (felony), or three years (domestic violence misdemeanor) (RCW 9.41.040(4)(a)(ii)(A)); and
- You have no prior felony convictions counted as part of your offender score under RCW 9.94A.525 (other than the one that is currently disqualifying you from possessing firearms); RCW 9.41.040(4)(a)(ii)(A); and
- If convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, you have completed all conditions of your sentence. RCW 9.41.040(4)(a)(ii)(B). This condition does not apply if convicted of a felony.
Restoring gun rights in Washington state after an involuntary commitment for mental health treatment
If you lost your gun rights due to involuntary commitment for mental health treatment, you are eligible to restore your gun rights if:
- You are not required to participate in court-ordered inpatient or outpatient treatment (RCW 9.41.047(3)(c)(i)); and
- You have successfully managed the condition related to the commitment (RCW 9.41.047(3)(c)(ii)); and
- You no longer present a substantial danger to yourself or the public (RCW 9.41.047(3)(c)(iii)); and
- The symptoms related to the commitment are not reasonably likely to recur. RCW 9.41.047(3)(c)(iv).
Restoring Washington state firearm rights due a protection order
If you lost your firearm rights due to being a restrained party to a protection order, you must ask the issuing court to terminate the protection order. The prohibition on guns disappears once the court removes the order.
Procedure for restoring gun rights in Washington state
To restore your gun rights, you must file a petition for restoration in the sentencing court or the superior court of the county where you reside. Washington state gun rights are never automatically restored.
Restoring Washington state gun rights after a class A felony or felony sex offense in juvenile court
You cannot restore your Washington state firearm rights if your conviction is for a class A felony or felony sex offense. But, you can restore your firearm rights even in these situations if your conviction is in juvenile court. You must first seal your juvenile record before petitioning to restore your gun rights.
If you have a conviction for an offense that prohibits you from possessing guns, and you later pick up another conviction for an offense that does not prohibit you from possessing guns, the five or three year waiting period starts from the offense date of the first disqualifying offense. The intervening new conviction does not restart the waiting period.
Benefits of restoring Washington state gun rights
Restoring firearm rights allows you to own and possess firearms under Washington state law, including the ability to apply for and receive a concealed pistol license.
Expungement not necessary
Expunging a conviction is not a prerequisite to restoring your Washington state gun rights. Thus, you could have a conviction that cannot be expunged and still restore your gun rights so long as you meet the requirements above.
Restoring federal firearm rights
Federal law does not consider a felony conviction as disqualifying for federal firearms purposes if you’ve had both your civil rights and firearm rights restored by the sentencing jurisdiction. Thus, when you restore your civil rights and firearm rights in Washington state, your federal firearm rights are automatically restored. 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20). Your civil rights are restored in Washington state when you receive a certificate of discharge upon completion of all conditions of your sentence, including probation and fines. RCW 9.94A.637. Because the sentencing jurisdiction must restore your civil and gun rights, if your conviction is in a jurisdiction that does not restore these rights (such as federal court, for example), you cannot restore your federal gun rights.
The federal government does not consider a domestic violence assault misdemeanor conviction that occurred under Washington state law as prohibiting firearms possession under federal law.
If you lost your federal firearm rights due to being a restrained party to a protection order, you must ask the issuing court to terminate the protection order. The prohibition on firearms disappears once the court removes the order.